As protests continue to erupt around the country over police brutality, and specifically the killing of Minnesota man George Floyd, NBA players and coaches have made their voices heard. Retired player Stephen Jackson led a protest in Minneapolis on Friday along with the Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns. And on Saturday, Jaylen Brown, Malcolm Brogdon and Justin Anderson got involved as well.
Brown drove 15 hours from Boston to his home state of Georgia to lead a peaceful protest in Atlanta. He put out the call on social media for people to join him, and was accompanied by a large crowd that included Brogdon, Anderson and rapper Lil Yachty.
Taking to Instagram Live, Brown said, in part:
I drove 15 hours to get to Georgia, my community. This is a peaceful protest. Being a celebrity, being an NBA player don’t exclude me from no conversations at all. First and foremost I’m a black man and I’m a member of this community… We’re raising awareness for some of the injustices that we’ve been seeing. It’s not OK.
As a young person, you’ve got to listen to our perspective. Our voices need to be heard. I’m 23 years old. I don’t know all of the answers, but I feel how everybody else is feeling, for sure. No question.
He also posted an image on Instagram holding a poster that read, “I can’t breath,” echoing the words of Eric Garner, a man killed by police in New York in 2014. The message has become a rallying cry, and NBA players, including LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, have previously worn warm-up shirts with the phrase on the front.
In addition, Brown posted a short clip from a speech Brogdon made at the protest.
I got brothers, I got sisters, I got friends that are in the streets, that are out here, that haven’t made it to this level, that are experiencing it — that are getting pulled over, just discrimination, day after day, dealing with the same bull—-. This is systematic.
We don’t have to burn down our homes. We built this city. This is the most proudly black city in the world, the world man. So let’s take some pride in that, let’s focus our energy. Let’s enjoy this together, this is a moment. We have leverage right now. We have a moment in time. People are gonna look back, our kids are gonna look back at this and say, ‘you were a part of that.’
I have a grandfather that marched next to Dr. King in the ’60s. He was amazing, and he would be proud to see us all here. We gotta keep pushing forward. Jaylen has led this charge man, I’m proud of him. We need more leaders.
Following the event, which was peaceful the entire time, Brown announced on social media that three people had been “wrongfully arrested” and asked for help finding their contact information.
Brown and Brogdon are both vice presidents on the leadership council of the National Basketball Players Association.